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DREAMWORKS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jeff Schaffer
Cast:
Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Kristin Kreuk, Cathy Meils, Nial Iskhakov, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Matt Damon, J. Adams, Christopher Baird
Writing Credits:
Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer

Tagline:
No actual Europeans were harmed in the making of this film.

Synopsis:
It's a crash course in foreign relations as college-bound Scotty Thomas and his buddies head to Europe for the ultimate summer vacation party! They're hooking up with hot strangers and jamming all the extreme insanity they can into the wildest trip of their lives!

Box Office:
Budget
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.711 million on 2512 screens.
Domestic Gross
$17.718 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 6/1/2004

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Alec Berg, Dave Mandel and Jeff Schaffer
• Party Along Commentary with Writers/Directors Alec Berg, Dave Mandel and Jeff Schaffer
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary
• Nude Scene Index
• Unrated Scene Index
• “Nude Beach Exposed” Featurette
• “How to Pick a Director” Featurette
• “Eurotrip Bootleg” Featurette
• Music Video
• Sing-A-Long
• Soundtrack Spot
• Production Notes
• Script
• Cast and Filmmakers
• Photo Gallery
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
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RELATED REVIEWS


Eurotrip: Unrated Edition (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 27, 2004)

When I went into 2004’s Eurotrip, I didn’t expect to like it. Most teen comedies bite anyway, and this one sounded like it’d follow in the sordid and crass footsteps of flicks like 2000’s Road Trip.

No one will mistake Eurotrip for a classic, but the film proves surprisingly lively and likable. It starts with graduation at Hudson High in Ohio. We meet grad Scotty Thomas (Scott Mechlowicz) who dates junior Fiona (Kristin Kreuk). Well, he did date her; she dumps him on graduation day as she calls him “predictable”.

Scotty’s friend Cooper Harris (Jacob Pitts) tries to cheer him up, and we see that Scotty maintains a German penpal named “Mike”. The film fills out its supporting cast with twins Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg) - who they view as “one of the guys” - and nerdy Jamie (Travis Wester). They plan a backpacking trip around Europe, while both Scotty and Cooper plan to take on summer jobs.

When Scotty receives a new e-mail from “Mike”, he interprets it as a desire to get with him sexually. Scotty responds negatively and tells “Mike” to stay away from him. Unfortunately for Scotty, it turns out he misinterpreted “Mike’s” gender; she’s actually Mieke (Jessica Boehrs), a sexy young blonde.

When Scotty discovers his catastrophic error, he tries to contact Mieke, but she blocked his e-mails after his nasty note. Scotty decides to stop being “predictable” and head to Berlin to meet Mieke. Cooper decides to come as well to pursue “freaky European sex”, so the boys take a job as couriers to get a cheap flight to Europe.

Unfortunately, this only gets them to London, so they need to wind their way from there to Berlin. Not surprisingly, many comic obstacles pop up along the way. The guys soon hook up with Jenny and Jamie in Paris too, and the foursome work their way slowly and painfully to Germany on a path that leads them to a nude beach, Amsterdam, Bratislava, and Rome.

While I expected Road Trip, Eurotrip comes across more like a mix of European Vacation and the original American Pie. I don’t know if that sounds like a compliment; probably not, since I didn’t like European Vacation. However, the movie benefits from the better parts of the concept behind that flick and enjoys the warmth and sporadic cleverness of Pie.

Not that everything works, as many of the gags fail to hit the mark. For the most part, Eurotrip takes on some easy jokes, and not all of them succeed. Actually, the flick’s cheap stereotypes offer a strength. It never takes things seriously as it depicts British soccer hooligans and perverted Italians; anyone who gets offended by the basic stereotypes needs to lighten up, as they’re clearly intended to spoof the national personalities.

The movie generally doesn’t take itself or its subjects seriously. Scotty’s anguish over Fiona’s departure presents some amusing moments of mockery, especially when the band at a graduation party plays a song called “Scotty Doesn’t Know”. Composed and sung by one of her many non-Scotty boyfriends, this one openly slams Scotty’s ignorance of Fiona’s sluttiness. It’s a hoot, especially since the tune reprises as they travel throughout Europe, and that tone infuses the entire flick.

One of the most bizarre misjudgments made by Eurotrip comes from the casting of Trachtenberg. That doesn’t come as a judgment on her talents, as she offers a good performance. However, it seems nuts to put her in the role of “one of the boys”. Throughout the first half of the flick, we’re supposed to accept the guys’ view of her as androgynous, but this makes no sense. Trachtenberg’s very feminine and sexy, and the filmmakers don’t even attempt to dress her conservatively and show her as unattractive; she’s hot throughout the flick, with no transformation sequence, so when the guys do see her as a girl, you want to slap them and ask “what took you so long?”

It also seems like a real stretch that Scotty never figured out Mieke’s gender. For one, as his little brother points out, it doesn’t take a lot of German classes to know that “Mieke” is a female name, especially given elements of her notes. He knows enough of the language to correspond with her but he has to look up “zusammen”, a German I word? That’s nutty.

Still, the film offers enough fun and spirit to overcome its plot holes. A lot of this comes from the cast. None of them provide breakout performances, but they all add zest and personality to their work. They interact naturally and create a sense of warmth that makes the movie more memorable. Too many flicks of this sort just present crude, one-dimensional characters, but Eurotrip makes its folks more likable.

Eurotrip packs in scads of cameos. These run the gamut from barely-knowns to big stars. I won’t mention any of the guest stars because I don’t want to ruin surprises. Some of them will inspire yawns, but one in particular is a shocker; when you see this performer, you’ll wonder, “Is that really sdjsaldkjsal???” Yes, it is. This runs the risk of taking us out of the film, but since it occurs early - and since this isn’t exactly an intricately-plotted tale - it adds to the fun rather than detract.

Eurotrip is one of those flicks that feels like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I can’t quote too many of its lines or cite too many memorable segments. Nonetheless, the overall package works well and offers a moderately clever and amusing piece. It’s not a great flick, and it suffers from more than a couple misfires, but it mostly comes across as a surprisingly fun and witty experience.

Footnote: hang around through the end of the closing credits for a little moment of fun.

Note that this DVD presents the “unrated” cut of Eurotrip, which runs a couple of minutes longer than the “R”-rated theatrical cut. The new material comes in eight places, as detailed via an index found in the supplements. These add more nudity, suggestive situations and swearing. Isn’t that what you want from an unrated flick? Too bad the only full-frontal nudity comes from the massive penis attack in the nude beach scene; unlike the unrated Road Trip, this one never presents fully naked women. Boo!


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B+

Eurotrip appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Not too many problems popped up during this good transfer.

Sharpness seemed strong. The film displayed good clarity from start to finish. I noticed only the slightest hint of softness at times. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, but some light edge enhancement cropped up on occasion. As for print flaws, I noticed a speck or two but that was it.

Eurotrip presented a warm and natural palette that seemed well reproduced. The colors consistently came across as lively and vibrant. I saw no problems with murkiness or bleeding from the tight tones. Blacks also came across as deep and firm, while low-light shots appeared clear and well delineated. Eurotrip just slightly fell short of “A” level and mainly looked great.

When I examined the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Eurotrip, I felt it presented a very typical mix for a romantic comedy. The soundfield maintained a strong orientation toward the front speakers. They offered a good sense of atmosphere along with nice stereo imaging for the music. The effects stayed with light environmental elements and rarely ventured beyond that range. The surrounds added minor reinforcement of the music and effects - such as the sound of a train going through a tunnel - but never came to life more than that.

Audio quality came across as fine but unexceptional. Speech mostly sounded natural and firm, though some light edginess occasionally interfered. Music came across as lively and bright, with nice range and definition. Effects didn’t tax the mix, but they seemed clean and accurate, with no issues connected to distortion. Bass was fairly warm and tight, though it also rarely offered much range. Ultimately, the audio of Eurotrip was decent but unexceptional.

Despite the movie’s low profile, Eurotrip comes packed with extras. We find two separate audio commentaries; oddly, both feature the same participants. The first one is done “straight” and presents writers/directors Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Schaffer, all of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. They make this a good track. They cover quite a few topics. We learn about the cast and how they got all the guest stars to appear, and we also hear about the challenges and positives of shooting in Prague. Variations between different drafts of the script as well as differences between script and screen appear, and we learn all the additions made for the unrated cut. The guys also toss out many fun anecdotes about making the film, and this turns out to be a highly informative and entertaining piece.

For the second track, we get a ”Party Along” commentary. This means we hear from Mandel, Schaffer and Berg again, but the difference is that they turn watching the movie into a drinking game; whenever the movie depicts drinking, nudity or swearing, they must imbibe. Given the nature of the flick, that means they tank down the booze almost constantly.

Clearly they took a page from the famous commentary for Cannibal! The Musical, in which its participants got sloppy drunk. These guys don’t become quite so tanked, but they seem pretty loose by the end. They even order a pizza along the way. The track covers some of the same territory as the first commentary, but it includes a surprising amount of new material. Most of the time we hear little trivia bits and stories from the shoot. The participants remain fun and interesting, and this offers another fairly entertaining and useful discussion.

After this comes a Gag Reel. It lasts five minutes, 28 seconds and presents the usual goofs and wackiness. However, it also tosses in some behind the scenes pranks, which makes it a little different, but not much.

More unused footage appears in the deleted scenes domain. This presents 13 cut sequences for a total of 18 minutes and nine seconds of clips. Most of these fill out elements already in the movie, but they add some good material. The best of the bunch comes from either the complete “Hapi Jus” commercial or the extended bit that shows the continued humiliation of an arrogant French waiter. The latter’s very funny, though it clearly went on too long to make the movie itself.

We can watch the clips with or without commentary from Mandel, Berg and Schaffer. Apparently tuckered out after all their other commentaries, they seem somewhat subdued here, but they provide the appropriate information. They let us know why the scenes got the boot along with a few other relevant tidbits.

Even more cut shots come via the Alternate Ending. This runs two minutes, 42 seconds, and concludes the flick on a less happy note than does the actual finish. Unsurprisingly, this clip offers more optional commentary from the guys. They discuss the reasons they reshot the ending and didn’t use this one.

Two indexes appear after this. One details all 10 of the movie’s “Nude Scenes”, while the other covers the eight “Unrated Scenes”. Both are useful and a cool addition to the set.

For more details on the movie’s extended schlong-fest, we head to Nude Beach Exposed. This six-minute and 14-second featurette looks at the shooting of that sequence via movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and comments from Mandel, Berg, Schaffer, and second AD Ben Howarth. A few decent tidbits emerge, but mostly we just hear about all the penises. Combined with the incessant shots of said penises, let’s just say I’ll never watch this featurette again. (And is it just me, or does it sound weird to hear the participants refer to “male penises”? What other kind are there?)

Another featurette tells us How to Pick a Director. In this 92-second piece, Mandel, Berg and Schaffer relate the way they selected who got the flick’s director’s credit. We also see the videotape of the selection process. It’s mildly interesting.

Eurotrip Bootleg goes for three minutes, 39 seconds. Berg, Mandel and Schaffer show up again and presents clips from an actual bootleg DVD they bought in New York along with their comments. It’s pretty useless but it’s also kind of funny.

Three elements pop up in The Music of Eurotrip. We get a sing-a-long version of “Scotty Doesn’t Know” that uses the standard onscreen lyrics/bouncing ball format. We also get a video for that song, but it’s the same as the sing-a-long minus the lyrics. Both present the movie footage of the band minus other film elements like Cooper’s exploits. Finally, we find a short ad for the Eurotrip soundtrack.

The Photo Gallery presents 53 photos, all of which show scenes from the movie and the shoot. No behind the scenes pictures appear, but we get some additional nudity and nice snaps of Trachtenberg in sexy outfits, so who cares? Production Notes gives us some nice information about the film. The notes provide a decent look at a few important subjects and seem fairly rich.

Another text feature shows up via the Script. It presents the entire text of the original draft, which means it includes lots of bits that don’t appear in the final film. That makes it a lot of fun to read and check out abandoned characters and subplots along with altered lines and situations.

Cast and Filmmakers offers the standard biographies. As usual, DreamWorks pour on the listings. We get entries for actors Jacob Pitts, Scott Mechlowicz, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Jessica Boehrs, Lucy Lawless, Vinnie Jones, and Fred Armisen plus director/writer Jeff Schaffer, writers Alec Berg and Dave Mandel, producers Jackie Marcus and Daniel Goldberg, executive producers Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck and Tom Pollock, composer James L. Venable, production designer Allan Starski, editor Roger Bondelli, director of photography David Eggby and costume designer Vanessa Vogel. The bios themselves don’t go much beyond the level of annotated filmography, but we sure do get a lot of them!

The DVD opens with a few ads. We get promos for Anchorman, Along Came Polly, Pitch Black and Envy. Surprisingly, despite the long roster of other features, the disc doesn’t include the trailer for Eurotrip itself.

Although I expected the usual crass and cheesy teen sex comedy from Eurotrip, instead I found a pretty fun little effort. The movie suffered from a few of those elements, but overall it seemed amusing and moderately clever. The DVD presented solid picture with decent audio and a very nice collection of extras. Eurotrip presents a likable and generally enjoyable flick that earns my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4655 Stars Number of Votes: 58
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